WENDELL - Siemens, a global company with 19 sites across North Carolina, is the only major supplier with a presence on every level of the energy chain. This unique perspective gives the company a competitive advantage for problem-solving in the industry and enables Siemens to take the lead in the area of smart grid development, solving industry inefficiencies and creating solutions for resource-draining challenges.
In Wendell, about 12 miles from Raleigh, Siemens operates a product development and deployment center. This is where the company works to develop new, cost-effective energy technologies, which are then tested with partner companies. Once through the development stage, the facility is also equipped to deploy smart grid technologies throughout the wider market, moving toward industry adoption.
Siemens objectives for the development of new smart grid technologies include:
• To improve efficiency and reliability of energy delivery,
• To reduce the environmental impact of delivering energy to consumers and
• To facilitate the education of energy consumers, ultimately resulting in more informed consumers who take ownership of and responsibility for their environmental footprints.
Creating technologies to solve current issues, such as increased efficiency, within the existing infrastructure can be challenging. “We have to make our technologies work with an electrical network system designed and constructed 50 to 100 years ago, modernizing and upgrading within a framework of built-in constraints,” explained Kevin O’Hara, VP of Services, Siemens Smart Grid Division. Since it is not feasible to replace the entire grid system, O’Hara and the teams at Siemens are charged with creating solutions that can be implemented within existing infrastructure.
While it may sound daunting, Siemens’ Wendell team has risen to the task. They currently have two projects underway that work within the existing infrastructure to significantly improve efficiency, from energy production to distribution to consumer usage.
Distribution Feeder Automation
Siemens is currently partnering with Wake Electric to pilot a locally developed high-speed distribution automation system that recognizes when and where a fault or disruption in service takes place. In addition, the technology automates redirection of power around the problem to minimize the number of customers without service as well as overall downtime. In addition, the system can pinpoint the location of the fault, increasing the power company’s reaction time and decreasing repair time. The pilot will enable Wake Electric to provide secure power to an important communication tower owned by WCPE 89.7, a classical music station in the Piedmont area.
Demand Response Management
Siemens is also partnering with a local electric cooperative on development and deployment of demand response and smart metering programs. Standard meters are currently used by power companies to gauge an individual consumer’s usage. However, a Smart Meter includes features to provide information to consumers, enabling them to make energy-saving decisions regarding power usage. The software from Siemens will ultimately:
• Reduce demand during peak usage
• Help the environment, lowering the impact of energy production and consumption
• Save consumers money
• Ensure utility companies meet stricter production and distribution standards and avoid penalties
Siemens is one of more than 1,000 companies participating in the renewable energy and energy efficiency supply chains, employing 12,500 North Carolinians. North Carolina is the first and only state in the Southeast to enact a mandatory Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.
For more information about Siemens Smart Grid solutions, visit www.usa.siemens.com/smartgrid.